Boys Need HPV Shots Too

HPV vaccinations should be given to boys starting at age 11

(RxWiki News) Since 2006, doctors have recommended that girls and young women receive vaccinations against human papillomavirus virus (HPV), primarily to prevent cervical cancer. Boys are now being urged to have these vaccines to prevent other forms of cancer.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is recommending that boys as well as girls have HPV vaccinations starting at ages 11-12.

"Discuss HPV vaccination for your children with your pediatrician."

The HPV vaccine works best in children before they begin engaging in sexual activity.

In addition to causing cervical cancer in females, HPV can cause genital warts, anal and oral cancers. Young men infected with the virus are also at greater risk of developing penile cancer.

HPV, the most commonly sexually transmitted virus in the United States, affects mostly adolescents and young adults who are sexually active. Young men who are having sexual relations with other young men are especially urged to undergo this vaccination program that involves three shots. 

Here is the HPV vaccination schedule for youngsters:

  • Girls should begin HPV4 or HPV2 vaccines between 11 to 12 years.
  • Shots are given in three doses - initial, 1-2 months later, then at 6 months.
  • Between ages 13-26, young women should also start or finish the series.
  • Boys should have the HPV4 vaccine, using the same schedule as girls.
  • Between the ages of 13-21, young men should start or finish the series.
  • Young men 21-26 may also be immunized, though the AAP guidelines do not recommend this because of cost-efficacy issues.
  • Gay or bisexual men up to age 26 are urged to have the complete vaccine series.
  • Vaccines not recommended during pregnancy or for those sensitive to yeast.
  • Shots are safe for women breastfeeding and individuals with compromised immune systems.
  • People with HIV should be vaccinated or complete the series.

The vaccines cost about $130 per dose. This cost doesn't cover the physician's time or office visit fees. The AAP urges all public and private insurers to cover the cost of these vaccines.

HPV vaccines are part of the federal Vaccine for Children (VFC) program, which pays for the cost of vaccines for children and teens who don't have insurance or are underinsured. 

These new recommendations were published online February 27 and in the March print issue of Pediatrics.

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.